Time added on: how Guardiola and Smith conspired to be quite wrong




By Nitram

The Mirror’s headline read, “Pep Guardiola proven right in Mikel Arteta dispute over Premier League rule changes,” while the article below it continued, “Guardiola was naturally furious at the final whistle after his team had lost via a penalty shootout.”

So, first and foremost what exactly was Pep ‘proven right’ about and “naturally furious” about?  It was of course the notion that too much time was added on in the Community Shield game as a response to the delays that were incurred.  

And yet, as I will show below, a perfectly legitimate eight minutes were added, followed by another perfectly legitimate three minutes.

So, given the correct amount of time was added, why does the Mirror consider the complaints perfectly legitimate? Surely not simply because those added minutes favoured Arsenal? 

Either way, on the back of this heinous amount of added time, the Mirror asked a few of their writers for their opinions on this match in particular, as well as the rules regarding added-on time. Here we have a tiny selection of their views, and we look to see if they even have a toe in reality.


“My first two games of the season, at Vicarage Road and Wembley, contained 32 minutes of added time between them, and two-thirds of those appendages were for non-existent delays.”

Well, I’m not sure what happened at Vicarage Road but what I do know is that a mere 8 minutes was added at Wembley, which as you will see from my analysis that follows, was perfectly reasonable. Of course, we then had the clash of heads in the first couple of minutes of added time meaning a further 3 minutes had to be added.

Walters continues:

“Not every game warrants 10, 15, 20 minutes of added time, so how about referees adopting the most under-used law in football – common sense – to police hideous skullduggery some people call game management?”

Well, two things Mr Walters. Only eight minutes were initially added. Not 10, not 15, and certainly not 20.  So I suppose Walters does realise that the first indication that an argument lacks validity is to grossly exaggerate details in order to make your point.

And since when is football supposed to be refereed by ‘common sense’? There I was thinking it was by applying the Laws of the Game. Silly me.   But unfortunately, he continues:

“Oh, and one last thing: If players start dropping like flies with hamstring and calf injuries because they are having to play 105 minutes every week instead of 90, are referees going to pick up the tab for their wages while the injured parties are out of action?”

Really, I mean really?

First off we have the exaggeration again. Under what premise is he assuming we will get 15 minutes added on time every match? There is nothing to indicate anything like that is going to be added on. Even Sunday, with a head injury and a goal in added time we played 12 minutes 41 seconds extra time.

And as for additional injuries. These players are fitter than they have ever been. Every parameter of their well-being is monitored to the second. They play on bowling greens. We have massive squads allowing for rotation. We have five substitutes. The utter thuggery that blighted football back in the day has largely been eradicated.

Compared to the players of the 70’s these players are pampered poodles. To suggest the addition of about 5 or 6 minutes, at most, to what they have been playing for the last 10 years or so, is going to cause a National pandemic of additional injuries is beyond ridiculous. Then we have:

Alan Smith then joined in writing, ” Yes, its basic intentions are pure enough – but when the more histrionic team ends up benefitting, as Arsenal did yesterday, it makes a mockery of the plan to punish time-wasting”.

What is he talking about? Arsenal did not waste one minute of time through any ‘histrionics’. We contributed to one significant piece of added time, and that was an injury to Odegaard that required strapping. The other significant event was the head collision, hardly Party being histrionic I would suggest, and of course it involved players from both teams anyway. Surely he’s not just making it up to make Arsenal look bad? Surely Smith wouldn’t be that crass?

And yet he goes on…

“A match should be 90 minutes, not 100. Time wasting should instead be punished by referees showing cards and hefty fines. Not by making those of us watching from the stands endure even more”.

“ENDURE!!!!”   First Mr Smith, you get to see it for free. No, worse, you get paid to see it. It’s your job. I am so sorry you have to ‘endure’ watching it. Some people have paid £100’s to watch 90 minutes of football. You being on a paid-for beano may mean you don’t care if you get short-changed, but I’m sure those who have to pay would be over the moon about ‘enduring’ a bit more of what they paid for.    You are a disgrace, Smith.

Moving on to the actual timing stats from yesterday’s match, I’ve compiled them using the guidelines used. During the World Cup back in 2018, where the statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight decided to take a look at the amount of stoppage time being added to games

They allowed a certain amount of ‘natural’ time before it was adding time to their stoppages. The ‘natural’ time was based on the average length of time taken for each activity, which were as follows:


Event Average Time Taken In Seconds
Throw-in 20
Warning 30
Goal-Kick 30
Corner Kick 45
Free-Kick 60
Penalty 60
Altercation 30
Arguing With Offical 30


In other words, if there was a penalty given and it took two minutes to be taken, only the second minute would be counted as an ‘excessive stoppage’.

I used the same criteria for adding time on Sunday. This is what I found in the second half:


  • 20 seconds.   Believe or not those parameters above were only exceeded throughout the entire 2nd half to the tune of 20 seconds. Yep 20 seconds.


  • 2 Minutes 41 Seconds


  • 4 Minutes


  • 1 Minute 10 Seconds

That’s a grand total of 8 Minutes and 11 Seconds to be added. The referee, as we know, added a minimum of 8 Minutes. Absolutely spot on. Then of course during that added time we had the head injury that occurred at 92.05. Play resumed at 96.01. = 3 Minutes 56 Seconds additional added time. This all meant the game should now have 8.11 + 3.56 = 12 minutes and 7 Seconds additional time, or a duration of 102 Minutes and 7 seconds.

We scored our equalizer on 100 Minutes and 9 Seconds, comfortably within the requisite additional time.   So what Pep is so uppity about?  For all his faults, the referee was actually spot on with his timekeeping.

And as for the Mirror using this as a stick with which to bash Arsenal beggars belief. Beggars belief, but doesn’t surprise.

15 Replies to “Time added on: how Guardiola and Smith conspired to be quite wrong”

  1. I suppose we could employ an official timekeeper to start and stop the clock according to an official agreed upon standard…nah, that’d take away the beautiful history of the game and our ability and right to moan about time added on.

  2. Of course, referees could have prevented some of this, by being way more proactive about blatant time wasting tactics, rather than wait to minute 85 before pulling out a yellow card, as that has made it worth while for teams to use those tactics. Or referee associations could have pushed that?

  3. So good to see a reference to the fans’ right to see a 90 minute match rather than the managers’ wish to keep it as short as possible.

  4. To use the newly fashionable concept of “game management”, events proved that Manchester did not manage the game very well!

    On a separate point, perhaps Guardiola would have preferred Rodri to have been sent off, as he deserved, so that he would not then have been able to have his penalty saved by our keeper.

    There are no surprises in the bias of the media. Had the result been reversed, Arsenal would have been criticised for not concentrating to the end and Manchester praised for not giving up even until the final minute.

  5. Great read Nitram and you are spot on as usual. Amazing what a few facts can reveal is it not.
    You would think the journalists would try using facts occasionally, just for the sake of accuracy. But of course they are not concerned with reporting facts accurately, they are more interested in feeding us their own particular agendas.
    Smith is a serial Arsenal critic, he likes to come across as more intelligent than your average pundit but in truth he is just as stupid and corrupt as the majority of the others.

  6. mick shelly

    Thank you for your kind words, and yes it certainly is amazing what a few facts can reveal.

    Some of them even surprised me.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my piece was regarding this idea of bookings and fines for time wasting, which is all very well but none of the time added on Sunday was for time wasting. As far as I could see, as I watched live, both teams just got on with it. Which is why Smiths comments riled me so much, and were key in prompting me to do the research I did.

    Smiths assertion that the time was added due to Arsenals ‘histrionics’ had absolutely no basis in reality..

    This is a bit of meat on the bones of those stats to explain just why:

    As I said, the actions during a game that are predominantly used for time wasting, Free Kicks etc. accounted for a mere 20 seconds beyond the guidelines used in the 2018 World Cup. This is what each action accounted for:

    Free Kicks = 0 Seconds
    Corner Kicks = 0 Seconds
    Goal Kicks = 17 Seconds
    Throw Ins = 3 Seconds

    And here’s the thing. The Goal Kick was a Man City Goal Kick, and that was only delayed because it was the one during which Gabriel was carded. So certainly no time wasting on Man City’s behalf. And the one slightly long throw was also Man Cities. Both keepers also distributed the ball from hand rapidly, neither wasting any time.

    So in reality, throughout all those ‘time wasting’ opportunities Man City wasted a miniscule 3 SECONDS and Arsenal a big fat ZERO, making Smiths accusations all the more scandalous.

    Tony often talks about apologies. What are the chances of Smith apologising for this particular piece of baseless Arsenal bashing?

    By a strange coincidence, another big fat ZERO.

  7. As far as I am concerned, over the ps years, whatever respect I had for Guardiola has changed into a ‘rich kid never satisfied’ feeling. Respect I’ll have when he turns around a team with limited finances and makes them winners. Until then, he may be a master tactician, but is incapable of building a team : he gets the owners to buy it.

    And the way City have become adept at all non-sportsmanlike conducts makes them a team I do not enjoy watching. I’d rather watch Pool! ….

  8. It’s in the Daily Mirror. It must be true.

    They’re not part of Reach plc for nothing 🤣🤣

    Alan Smith’s press accreditation should be revoked. Any supporter goodwill deriving from Anfield ’89 has long since evaporated.

  9. Great piece Nitram. Although trust you to spoil the unsubstantiated opinions of “experts” by using facts 🙂

    The one obvious thing nobody appears to have mentioned though is this. Arsenal are the team accused of time-wasting. However, I think we can probably all agree that a team that is losing isn’t traditionally the one which wastes time, they want to get on with it in order to equalise. Had someone accused the team who was winning of timewasting, their argument may, on the face of it, have had some credibility.

    I would love to see this article appear in a newspaper or on the bbc website but we all know it won’t. They don’t like facts…..particularly if they show Arsenal in a good light!

  10. Nitram,
    Terrific analysis! I’m hoping the new guidelines re added time will be enforced. 50 minutes of play out of 90 is unacceptable. And who is in such a hurry to get the match over with? Journos? Who cares. Certainly not the fans, especially those paying for seats.
    Mikey makes an excellent point. Surely, down a goal, Arsenal would try to waste as little time as possible to have a chance to equalise. And they did. Sorry, Anti-Arsenal cretins. If managers don’t want want a lot of added time, tell their players not to waste it.

  11. Thank you again guys for your kind words.

    And lets not forget, despite the additional 12 plus minutes added to the 2nd half on Sunday, none of it was for what you would call ‘time wasting’. Both teams kept the game flowing and didn’t indulge in any of the usual shenanigans to delay play. Every delay was for either genuine injuries or legitimate (non P!$$ taking) substitutions.

    Heaven knows how Smith’s going to ENDURE a match that has to take into account Newcastle’s antics!!!

  12. Newcastle will be playing midweek games this season, so they will need to ensure that their domestic Saturday kick-offs have finished by Tuesday evening.

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